Care & Feeding
Please follow our Kefir Simple Start Our Kefir Grains are guaranteed to produce healthy Kefir and to grow and multiply. if there is any doubt text us (919-518-3336) or email (iHappyHerbalist@me.com) along with a picture. If we can't demonstrate success we'll send a fresh new Kefir Grains or a refund.
Feeding: typical recommendation is one teaspoon (~4 grams) Kefir grains to one cup (8 fl ounces) of Whole Pasteurized Milk.
Size of the Grains do not matter.
Smaller grains ferment faster
Larger Grains are easier to retrieve
except: Flat Grain Sheets produce more Kefiran
Schedule once the ferment begins to separate (Curds & Whey) retrieve the grains and add fresh whole milk . It is possible to “train your kefir” to ferment faster or slower or to eat less or more. The primary schedule should be consistent. Pay attention to the results and adjust accordingly such as temperature changes (Sumer/ winter) etc.
1) The common reason for milk kefir grains to break down or reduce in size or disappear are due to stress and improper care. Harsh temperature changes. (Cold Milk into Hot Kefir) cause stress. Most often cold milk right from fridge is added right to the room temperature Kefir Grains. Ideally the fresh milk and Kefir grains would be the same temperature and is recommended if your Grains are stressed. Malnourishment; feeding schedule should be regular and consistent, and of the same type of milk. Avoid rough handling when retrieving or stirring. Type of milk , (not all milk is eq. l), avoid close to expiration dates - fresher is better. Avoid Ultra-Pasteurized where most Organic Milk is Ultra Pasteurized which produces inconsistency in ferments. Milk should be Whole Milk. Kefir thrives on lactose (milk sugar) and FATS.
2) Temperature 25C = 77 F. The ideal Kefir temperature is 76.6. Kefir can ferment from 41F to 131 F. Goes dormant below 41F and stress out over 131F. The colder the slower the ferment/ Warmer the faster the ferment and the feeding has to be adjusted to match.
3). Rinsing the Kefir Grains especially in water will remove the exterior coat of the grains and inhibit their growth / reduce their size.
Chlorinated Water is very rarely advised - only when the kefir grains are clearly suffering from mold (typically pink). Airborne yeast may land on the ferment and create a thin off white top coat which can easily be peeled off and leave the kefir still good. However repeated experiences should be a waring that the Kefir is being challenged. Turing yellowish / orange and hard f(rom the Cassie in the milk). Recommend pulling the grains apart and removing the hard surface as much as possible. We recommend only fresh milk rinse and very gently stirring to prevent yellowing.
4). A harsh scraping of the grains through a mesh filter will reduce the Kefir Grains and cause undue stress.
Recommend using a Tea Ball or Mesh /Cheesecloth bag to retrieve the grains.
5). Stirring. The more stirring and especially more rigors stirring the greater the Kefir grains will remain small or break apart form the clusters., and fall through the strainer. Smaller grains will produce a greater amount of Kefir faster than the larger Clusters. Larger Clusters are produced by less stirring. However less stirring, or the absence of stirring may lead to the milk Cassin forming a hard yellow/orange jacket on the Kefir grains suffocating them.
6) Airflow and ventilation; Kefir can ferment with or without oxygen. However in a closed environment kefir grains produce greater amounts of carbon dioxide (which may cause glass to explode) and too much CO2 is unhealthy for the grains. While kefir is primarily a Bacterial Ferment yeast are always present and always contribute. Yeast contribute in a negative way when the ratio of bacteria to yeast shift towards a heavier yeast population. Yeast produce significantly higher levels of Gas (CO2) and Alcohol which inhibit the growth of the bacteria. This is often seen as one's kefir with lots of bubbles - carbonation. and possibly more yeasty taste. In those cases we recommend a Spring Water (non chlorinated) water rinse. Followed by 2-3 days "time out" with the Kefir Grains sitting in. glass of Spring Water with a tight fitting lid in the fridge. When ready to start another ferment, do a quick Spring Water rinse and add to fresh whole milk.
We recommend a clean cloth or paper (coffee filter) cover secured with a rubber band. Avoid open exposure to the air where all sorts of airborne microbes, including ants, bugs, fruit flies, will have the opportunity to challenge and containment a ferment.
7) . Avoid cleaning fermenting jars which may leave a soapy residue, or have antibacterial action which diminishes kefir grains. We recommend white distilled vinegar and a quick water rinse.
- Everything is relative: Time, Temperature, Quality + Quantity of Milk, Quality + Quantity of Kefir Grains.
Creating a healthy environment will recover and keep your Kefir Grains going strong forever. Humans are the main cause of demise for Kefir grains. That and your neighbor thinking they’re helping you by tossing out spoiled milk.
Ed and Sue
Sending us pictures is helpful text 919-518-3336
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